Is The Church under judgement?


Where is God? That is a question that needs to be asked in the midst of the present situation.

God does not appear to be at work in the church. The number attending church is in steep decline. Christianity is being marginalised and held up to ridicule by many. Efforts are being made to stem the tide. Schemes are drawn up to reach out to the churchless masses in our nation. Special prayer meetings are held for revival. But it seems that the heavens are as brass. There is a spiritual dearth in the land.

What can we do about it? To some this is not a matter of concern. They believe that God exists for man’s convenience. He provides a salvation which is to be had for the asking. The growth of the church is in their hands. For them, pragmatism is the order of the day.

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An extraordinary birth

The events surrounding the nativity remain some of the best known and most distorted Gospel stories.

Christmas cards, school plays and hit songs serve both to remind and confuse our culture regarding what really happened 2,000 years ago.

At the heart of the story is the virginal conception of Jesus, popularly called the virgin birth. Even theologians can be quick to dismiss the historicity of the event. Bart Ehrman notes that only Matthew and Luke record the virgin birth and points out: ‘It has always struck scholars as odd that the tradition – which surely would be an important thing to know! – isn’t attested anywhere else in our earliest sources.’

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Uganda: preserved by God

Pastor Umar Mulinde, a highly effective evangelist in Uganda who survived a horrific acid attack in 2011, said in September that he escaped another attempted assault by Islamic extremists.

Following a one-week evangelistic event in Mubende, Pastor Mulinde was driving the 90 miles back to the Ugandan capital of Kampala on 25 September when a band of men blocked a road. He managed to maneouvre around them.

They followed him to his home in such a way that he did not detect them, he said, and broke in later that night.

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Where now for Asia?

The court’s decision on the future of Asia Bibi on 31 October was never going to provide a peaceful ending, whichever way it went.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court decided to release her, rejecting calls for the death penalty for the mother, imprisoned for over nine years on a false charge of blasphemy. Unsurprisingly, this led to unrest in Pakistan, then government capitulation to extremists, and the innocent forced to flee the country.

Over the years groups of Christians holding vigils – to ensure no-one forgot the woman imprisoned because she dared to offer some Muslim women a drink of water – have remained quietly constant.

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Gospel Caring

If, like me, you get embarrassed crying in public, this is not a book to read on the train! The book tells the story of Aaron, a profoundly disabled boy.

Aaron was fostered and then adopted by John and Pat Mollitt, and lived in their care for 28 years until his death. It tells of their daily struggles in caring for Aaron: struggling with specialised equipment, battling for funding and managing a series of complex health needs. It also wonderfully tells of the joy Aaron brought to his family and wider community, as a man who could not speak nevertheless communicated his joy and thankfulness. In the author’s words ‘he gave us far more than we could ever have given him.’

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Teaming up with church

How well do you know your local area?

I’m pretty confident that wherever your church is based, there will be sportspeople and sports clubs on your doorstep. And there will probably be sportspeople in your church family too.

Are you committed to reaching your local area with the good news of Jesus? If the answer’s yes, then sharing the gospel with sportspeople should surely be part of your church’s ‘mission strategy’, right? As our General Director Graham Daniels highlighted in this column in January, with more than 10 million people playing competitive sport once a week across the UK, there is a huge mission field in our midst – and the church needs to get stuck in.

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Marx without Sparks

Melvin Tinker’s latest book takes as its two starting points C. S. Lewis’ science-fiction tale That Hideous Strength and the biblical account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. These act as lenses through which to make sense of the cultural transformations we have seen around us in the West.

Having introduced these two controlling narratives, Tinker brings us to the main focus of the book: cultural Marxism – a little-understood term that makes the subtitle sound rather sensationalist, but he does a good job of outlining the ways in which this movement has succeeded in transforming Western society in less than a century.

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